Each day, the Massachusetts Daily Collegian sports blog will break down each position on the UMass football roster from now until the regular season. Today we look at the defensive line. Check in tomorrow for a look at linebackers. UMass specialists were highlighted yesterday.
Key Returners: Kevin Byrne (RS SR), Galen Clemons (RS SR), Brandon Potvin (RS SR), Robert Kitching (SO), Daniel Maynes (RS JR), Trey Seals (RS SO), Stanley Andre (RS JR)
Key Losses: Hafis Williams (Graduation), Chaz Thompson (Graduation), Ryan Delaire (Transfer)
Promising Newcomers: Justin Anderson (GS), Leo Krizanovic (RS FR), Peter Angeh (FR), Enrock Asante (FR), Terrel Correia (FR), Elijiah Wilkinson (FR)
Notes: The Massachusetts football team enters the 2013 season without two of its top defensive linemen from last year. Both Chaz Thompson and Hafis Williams graduated after anchoring the middle of the Minutemen’s defensive line in all 12 games last season. UMass will also be without defensive end Ryan Delaire who decided to transfer to Towson after two seasons in Amherst.
But while there will be some turnover on the defensive line from last season, the coaching staff still has plenty of options to turn to.
Kevin Byrne, Stanley Andre, Daniel Maynes, Brandon Potvin, Galen Clemons, Robert Kitching and Trey Seals will all return to UMass after receiving playing time in 2012. Byrne was one of the anchors of the defensive line with Williams and Thompson, as he started all 12 games and recorded 27 tackles. Andre played at defensive end for the Minutemen and started in all 12 games last season, making a total of 41 tackles. Although Andre has mostly been used at linebacker so far in practice, he could also make a return to the line if need be. Potvin and Seals played in all 12 games and played at defensive end most of the time although they didn’t start in any of them. Clemons made four starts and appeared in nine games at defensive tackle. Maynes and Kitching also saw playing time on the line.
And that’s just the returning players.
UMass coach Charley Molnar and defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo also have a handful of newcomers who could make an impact right away. Justin Anderson transferred from Maryland as a graduate senior to play for the Minutemen. He had a career year in 2010, but suffered an injury before his junior season, which caused him to redshirt. Then in his redshirt junior season, he didn’t see as such playing time as before. But now he has moved on to UMass and is expected to make a big impact right away.
The Minutemen also have multiple freshmen they can turn to in redshirt freshman Leo Krizanovic and true freshmen Peter Angeh, Enrock Asante, Terrel Correia and Elijiah Wilkinson. Molnar highlighted Wilkinson as one of his freshmen to look out for, and said that he has been making plays during camp.
While UMass has multiple options, it remains to be seen if they can fill the shoes of Williams and Thompson and improve from last season.
Cameron McDonough can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @Cam_McDonough.